“Queer Eye” Star Karamo Brown Inspires Students at FIU

Karamo Brown, the culture expert on the hit Netflix show "Queer Eye," speaks to students at the Student Programming Council's first Lecture Series of the Spring Semester. Jesse Fraga/PantherNOW

Anna Radinsky/Entertainment Director

Karamo Brown doesn’t like being called the culture expert on “Queer Eye,” the hit Netflix series about style experts who help better people’s lives.

“What does that even mean? Because I don’t know… I would rather my title be counselor, therapist, heart guy. If we were ‘Captain Planet,’ I would be heart,” Brown said.

The star of the Emmy Award winning series visited FIU and was hosted by the Student Programming Council for their first lecture series of the semester on Thursday, Jan. 23.

One of the many students who stood over an hour to find front row seats to the lecture was Maria Parente, a sophomore majoring in biology.

Students wait outside Graham Center Ballrooms to see Karamo Brown.

“I wish he could be my person down-to-earth friend backslash therapist,” said Parente. “I think he does his best work with the people that need the most help.”

On “Queer Eye,” Brown assists people with personal issues in their lives and provides guidance on their mental health.

“My job is to find out what’s blocking you. I wanted to fix hearts and minds,” he said. “It’s all good if you give someone a makeover or help with fashion, but what about improving someone’s mentality?”

Karamo Brown talks to the audience at SPC’s first Lecture Series.

Brown talked about fighting stereotypes when discussing the preparations for the “Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!” season.

Prior to filming the season, Brown said that he was told by producers of the show that Japanese people would not be willing to talk about their personal issues with him and that his role would be changed.

“In my mind I was thinking, and then I said out loud, ‘First of all, you ain’t Japanese. So don’t tell me what the Japanese are doing,’” he said. “Secondly, if that is true, maybe the reason that they’re not sharing their emotions is because no one is giving them the space to.”

Brown stuck to his gut and ended up creating emotional moments for the show to capture.

“I don’t like to think people in monolithic ways, that they’re only this way. Like, we’re all human beings, we’re all individuals. I hate when we try to define a people or culture just by some thing that’s been passed down,” he said.

Finishing off the short Q&A session, Maria Camas, a sophomore biology major, asked Brown what the definition of happiness is for him.

Students react to seeing Karamo Brown for the first time.

“My definition of happiness varies. Some days it’s doing things that are just for me, some days it’s helping others, some days it’s hanging with my family, some days it’s twerking like you can’t imagine,” Brown said.

Kelsey Walker, a junior interdisciplinary studies major, felt that Brown’s messages on the show deeply impacted her self-esteem.

“His messages of finding the courage to be you has probably turned my life around. He helped people not be afraid of themselves regardless of what other people think,” said Walker.

Before Brown left the stage, he asked to give a final message.

“A lot of you are going to hear a lot of things about the choices you’re making and who you are. I want you to remember to not let their negative comments get to you. Every single one of you are perfectly designed. There is nothing about who you are, what you do, what choices you make, that is wrong. Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it,” said Brown.

A final turn to your neighbor message rang throughout the room.

“Neighbor, I am perfectly designed.”

Photos by Jesse Fraga/PantherNOW

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